Sometimes you need something a little bigger to get the extended family or friends around town and that’s the time you will probably consider a Japanese 8-seater car.
But having all those extra seats doesn’t automatically mean the ride quality and performance of your MPV has to suffer.
There are some fabulous Japanese 8-seater cars on the market, both being sold directly in the UK and as grey imports. And if you are worried about importing, don’t, it’s not as complicated as you may at first think and there’s a Government website to tell you all you need to know.
Hi spec on Japanaese 8-seater cars
Japanaese 8-seater cars very often come with a high-level of sophistication and creature comfort: Electric windows, mirrors, and seat warmers; panoramic sunroofs; four-wheel drive; choice of seat configurations – it all comes pretty much as standard.
The grey imports may be a little older than the models directly available to the UK market but they are great value for money and they have normally been very well looked after. Have no fears buying a Japanese 8-seater manufactured a decade or so ago – in most cases it will be barely run-in.
Here we look at 6 of the most popular Japanese 8-seater cars insured by Adrian Flux, the company with a specialist policy for all grey imports.
Powerful smooth and quiet, the Toyota Alphard has ample space for driver, seven passengers and rakes of luggage. The middle row of sweets swivel to face the rear for a more sociable passenger set-up. The Alphard has two engine options, both petrol: a 4 cylinder 2.4 litre or a V6 3 litre. Both are automatic and offer the choice of two-wheel or all-wheel drive. Introduced into the Toyota model range in 2002, and a frequent grey imported.
The Estima is very slightly narrower and shorter than the Previa, the equivalent UK model and an excellent Japanese 8-seater. The engine is mounted under the front seats but there’s sufficient sound proofing to ensure there isn’t a problem with noise or vibration. Just one sliding door to the rear for access but all in all, very comfortable and a decent responsive ride produced by a 2.2 turbo charged engine giving you 0-60 in 14.5 seconds.
Sold in the Japanese market between 1995 and 2002, and now a popular import to the UK, the Granvia is available with seven and eight seat configurations and in two-wheel drive or four-wheel drive option. Based on the regular HiAce, the engines are either a 2.4 L or 3.0 L diesel, or 2.7- and 3.4 L petrol and they come with long or short wheelbase. Very roomy and a very comfortable ride.
This is one of the better-looking Japanese 8-seater cars with plenty of power provided by the 3.5 litre V6 engine. The Elgrand seats 7 or 8 depending on the trim level and seat type. Tech features include keyless entry and start, and radar cruise control which maintains a set distance from the vehicle in front. For the passengers’ entertainment there is a Bose 9 speaker sound system and roof mounted DVD screen for rear passengers.
The Delicia is not the best looking 8-seater you will come across but it has a very loyal fan base. Sold in Japan from the early 1980s, the rate of importation to the UK has been phenomenal. Delicas are advanced for their years with even the earliest models boasting heated seats, electric mirrors, automatic headlights, enormous sunroof, arm rests and versatile (and surprisingly comfortable) seating, all powered by the option of 3.0 V6 petrol or 2.8 turbo-diesel engine.
The Elysion is another grey import competing with the Toyota Alphard and Nissan Elgrand. It is powered by Honda’s incredibly reliable 3 litre V6 VTEC engine so you know it’s going to run and run, even if you are buying something a little older. Clever space management makes it one of the roomiest 8-seaters on the market. A rigid body and advanced security systems makes it one of the safest rides too.